I'm 28 years old, born and living in Brasil ever since.
Started riding classes at the age of 8 and we have had some horses since then. At first it was jumping and, when I came to know about dressage, I fell in love: I did believe it was always the result of a great understanding between horse and rider. But well, there aren't many practioneers in my country, so it's hard to find teachers, and it was said I would need to own an expensive horse for that... so I went on with jumping and trails.
There was a hiatus for some time, when I had no horse at all. In this time I undesrtood that sport dressage was not so nice to the horses as I used to think, and came to hear about Nevzorov and then other people who DID get what I wished to achieve. (about the N guy, I have read some bad things about him around here, but anyways, that's what he sells and that's what I bought
Later in this time I did get some dressage classes, first with a strict colonel on a nice loaned horse and later with a gentle old german man on school polo horses. This man seemed to have great horse qualities, who taught me how to ask for go and whoa and turns through weight and legs, but I don't think he's SO open to AND as I would wish. I doubt he would agree to teach me if I refused to use a bit inside the horse's mouth.
Now I have a gray lusitano mare, since a couple of years ago (and no more teacher, for it was a 2h journey to have the classes near the teacher's home, and I don't want my mare to be so far from me). She was four and a half when I bought her, and never been ridden. The farm kept the mares for reproduction, but waited them to get a little mature before first pregnancy - she hasn't had any foals yet - so I found it great. They started her with lungeing and getting a little used to a rider (about 10 rides) before I brought her to my city a few months later.
I find her very sweet and trustworthy, besides having played rodeo once with me and threw me far on the ground, making my back hurt for a whole month and making me fearful of cantering her again, but I know I had some fault on that (I did not lunge her that day, a very green horse and full of gas).
As I rode her the first time I noticed she did not understand the snaffle bit (specially on the turns, since stop was asked by voice since lunge) and made a copy of Cook's cross under bitless bridle, so she's never had a bit again. But our work really lacks consistency, since I'd like to get collection before riding, but I don't know how to get it, then sometimes I decide to ride anyway...
When she's in the stall and sees me coming, she whinnies at me
If she's loose, she ignores me
There was a time I'd ask the guys to set her loose at the arena about one hour before my arriving and she would come to me, and I'd start running and she would run too (and pass by me and go all the way to the other end of the arena, leaving me far behind). Or when she was loose at the grassy paddock she would come to meet me.
But now we have moved, there is no paddock and the places she occasionaly is set loose (arena and the somewhat large space between the stalls) has a little grass and so she's all at eating and eventually talking to the pony she likes.
A friend who moved her mares with us says my mare used to be like a dog, NOW she's like a horse. I think she used to have time to be a horse on her own, and now she can only "be a horse" when I'm there :/
We moved because the other one was farther and the time schedule wasn't good (at 5 or 6 PM it was closing, and it can be still very sunny - and hot, Rio de Janeiro - at this time). It seems that only when I have my own place will the things be good enough, and I expect to get it yet this year. At least now she can sniff other horses in the little time she's loose.
The horses in this place are shared in two routines: stalled all the time, and loose all the time - in the neighborhood at day and in a "little mountain". I found both options dangerous :/
But well, besides riding (mostly walk-halt, slowtrot-walk-halt and trying to go straight or turning, always aiming not to use the reins, though I still seem to need them), I have taken her for walks with me, with halter or neckrope, but sometimes there was an annoying guy insisting on stopping me to chat on our way who have made me uncomfortable with this. I fear being rude and making him anger, and makinng things worse
So now we have been only in the arena, with a little lungeing with the neckrope (I don't think we take much more than 10 minutes straight), and walking, trotting, turning and backing up while leading her.
Sometimes she's more willing to trot with me, sometimes she's not willing at all... Sometimes she wanders off from the lunge circle (erm, rarely round anyway) on the trot or canter and I need to let her go (neckrope is not so convincing, huh?), sometimes she gets excited and jumpy and kicky and I call her to stop before going away in a straight line, and she turns to me at a sudden walk
I have noticed that after riding she's more willing to follow me by herself, I don't know if she thinks I'm holding the reins which hang on her neck... Oh, and I ride bareback, and she seems ok to stay besides the mounting block, so I think THIS is a good sign
Also, sometimes I put her on some cavaletti and little jumps to have more diversity, on the lunge or leading, but she does not enjoy it :/
And I guess it's enough! I hope my tale didn't get too confuse